Committee on Population Screening

The task of the Population Screening Committee is threefold: to identify developments in population screening, to advise on population screening and to assess permit applications for population screening in relation to the Population Screening Act.

Identifying developments

Considerable attention is given to the early detection of diseases and research into risk factors. Scientific developments are occurring at a rapid pace, which significantly impacts existing screening programmes and provides opportunities for new ones. The Health Council of the Netherlands monitors these developments and their potential consequences (in the spirit of the advisory report Screening: between hope and hype) and provides reports on them. Activities in this context can range from monitoring developments in screening methods to reporting on ethical issues.

Advice on population screening

Before introducing new population screenings or modifying existing ones, the Minister of Health, Welfare, and Sports seeks advice from the Health Council. The permanent Committee on Population Screening deals with these scientific advice questions, while the Centre for Population Screening of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) handles the implementation issues. Where possible, the Health Council and RIVM work together, on the understanding that their advice is drawn up independently of each other and published separately.

Assessing permit applications

The Health Council of the Netherlands has a statutory duty to assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports makes the final decision on such applications. The Population Screening Act, which came into effect on 1 July 1996, aims to protect people from population screening studies that could jeopardise their health. It established a permit system for population screening involving the use of ionising radiation, concerning cancer or concerning serious diseases or abnormalities for which no treatment is possible. Permit applications may pertain to a national population screening programme or changes therein, or scientific research in a population screening that may or may not be nationally implemented.

This activity is a permanent part of the Prevention and Screening domain.

The membership of the committee may differ from one advice to another. Because a permanent committee addresses more than one topic, potential conflicts of interests of committee members will be re-evaluated at the start of each advisory process. The composition of the Committee by advice can be found on the last page of the advisory report.


  • Prof. O.M. Dekkers, Professor in Clinical Epidemiology; Specialist in Internal Medicine, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden, chair
  • Prof. M.C. Cornel, Professor of Community Genetics and Public Health Genomics, Amsterdam UMC, vice chair
  • Dr. E.M.M. Adang, Health Economist, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Prof. M.J.M. Broeders, Professor Personalized Cancer Screening, Radboudumc, Nijmegen
  • Prof. R.M.M. Crutzen, Professor of Behaviour Change and Technology, Maastricht University
  • Prof. H.H.J. Das, professor of communication & persuasion, Radboud University, Nijmegen 
  • Dr. Y. Drewes, Physician, Coordinator Master Vitality and Ageing, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden
  • Dr. P.J.M. Elders, Assistant Professor, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. A. Krom, ethicist, Ethics Institute, Utrecht University
  • Prof. I.M. van Langen, Professor in Clinical Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen
  • Prof. S.C. Linn, Professor of translational oncology, Universiteit Utrecht, internist-oncologist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam
  • M.C. Ploem LLM, Lecturer of Health Law, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. J.J. van Tol-Geerdink, Researcher Shared Decision Making in Oncology, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Prof. J. Twisk, Professor of Applied Biotatistics, Amsterdam UMC


  • P.J. ten Broeke MSc, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • J. van Geffen MSc, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • M.G. Kleefkens LLM, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • R.H. Thöene MSc, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven

Scientific Secretaries:

  • Dr. C.A. Aitken, Health Council, The Hague
  • Dr. J.D. van der Berg, Health Council, The Hague
  • D.N. Leunisse LLM, Health Council, The Hague